Taunggyi Travel Guide 2015
Visit the Athaya winery & vineyard
Athaya winery is fantastic and well worth just coming to Taunggyi for. The only other winery in is Inle lake and is full of tourists necking vino. This is a fantastic winery with a good selection of wines in the most perfect setting. Glasses are $2.50 and it’s well worth trying the wine flight for the same price. Note that Lonely Planet has the open and close times wrong. The winery opens at 8.30am but LP says it closes at 4pm when in reality I got this quote from the German owner “We stay open until the last person decides to leave”. We left at 8pm and it was nowhere near closing. It’s a good thing as the bus from Hpa An gets in at 3pm so you don’t have to rush like we did.
Where to stay?
Stay at Win Guesthouse ($50) rather than Cherry Guesthouse ($40). The owner is a Chinese ex Buddist that’s only there to fleece you. The rooms are pretty bad for one of the most expensive rooms you will pay in the country.
This is one of the few towns that has a functioning night market that all the locals frequent at dinner. This is where you can walk through and eat and drink with the locals.
Probably the only town that has real Swedish bakeries that have proper bread products (good not great) and the only place outside the tourist trail that I saw with an espresso machine. Coffees are just $1.50 and worth stocking up on stacks for the next leg of your journey.
Lonely Planet weirdly says to visit Kaku from Hpa An but while you’re in Hpa An all the locals tell you not to do it and wait until you get to Taunggyi. It is well worth the visit and we were able to shoehorn it in before the bus we were taking out of town left at 1pm. Get a taxi to take you at 7am in the morning for the 1 hour drive where you will have the place to yourself for an hour before the tourists start arriving with their guides. Cost will only set you back $35 return but remember to get the driver to take you to get the permit from the office in Taunggyi and he will be designated as your guide rather than having to get a local person and have to tip them.
Cost to the bus stop
It should only cost you 2000k tho get from the bus stop to town and vice versa. Make the deal quick when you get off the bus otherwise the moto drivers just take off when you try to bargain with them – you don’t want to walk this.